Ten writers for children. All with something to say.


Traveling for Research and Inspiration

As a person who’s had a few publication credits but has not published a novel (yet!), I haven't done any traveling for school presentations. However, like others on this blog I have certainly traveled to do research for my work, whether it be hiking in the alpine backcountry of Rainier National Park in search of pikas and marmots to star in a middle grade novel, or visiting Fairbanks to reconnect with the town where I spent my formative years.

I don’t have much advice regarding trips of this nature, other than to say remember to check your supplies a few times before you depart! Once, on a trip to Rainier, I drove 3 hours to the park, hiked two miles (uphill!) off the road, came upon a family of marmots playing just a few yards off the trail – and then realized that amongst the various notebooks, snacks, and water bottles in my backpack I had forgotten to bring my camera!! Although I stayed for a few hours and had fun watching the pudgy little critters going about their lives, I sure would have liked to take some pictures. Luckily, I made several trips researching this particular project and so I had other opportunities to photo-document my discoveries. (A picture from one of these later trips accompanies this post. If you look on the boulder near the pine tree in the lower right corner, you might be able to see a marmot lounging in the sun, admiring the view. Though I took most pictures at closer range, I couldn’t help but take this long-view picture, thinking, “That marmot sure has a nice view from her front stoop!”)

I have traveled to several writing conferences as well. When I think back on these experiences, no real advice comes to mind except to remind everyone never to book a hotel room over the internet without talking directly to the hotel in question. I learned this lesson the hard way a few years ago when I visited Portland, Oregon, to attend a book festival. I arrived at my hotel, checked in, and went to my room—only to find that I had been assigned a smoking unit with two double beds instead of the non-smoking room with king bed I had reserved. The gal at the desk, though sympathetic to my predicament, could not accommodate a room change because there were no vacancies. When I told her I had made a reservation weeks in advance, she asked if I had spoken directly to the hotel. I had not, and that’s when she told me that many online reservation sites do not actually guarantee you will receive the room you reserve. Most if not all of you probably already know this, but I add my little tale as a warning for those who may not!


David LaRochelle's New Book

Hi Fellow potatoes, just saw this in The Horn Book. Thought you'd all like to see it too!! Congratulations on the nice write-up David!

Boo to you!
By Elissa Gershowitz
hauntedhamburger Notes from the Horn Book   October 2011 Halloween’s not just for little boys and ghouls. Here are some funny, eerie, and downright creepy titles to scare up readers of all ages.

The goofiest of the group is David LaRochelle’s picture book The Haunted Hamburger and Other Ghostly Stories. Ghost siblings Franny and Frankie demand a story before bed. Of course, one is never enough, and Father Ghost is persuaded to tell three. The humor is freewheeling and perfectly calibrated—diapers! lipsticky smooches! yuck!—for the book’s audience. Paul Meisel’s illustrations lend an exaggerated tongue-in-cheek quality. Perfect for Halloween (but too good not to read all year round). (6–8 years)
Read More…

Salt Lake City Here We Come

I am travelling very little for my books right now, although I do get to make a quick trip up to Forest Falls to a one room school house at the end of this week. I am hoping to see the trees changing colors and feel a bit of winter up there. We've been in the 80's here lately and while I love the warmth, I do feel a little jealous of those with snow and fall colors.

I loved Christy's blog about finding things to write about wherever she travels, and as I commented on her post, my husband and I are doing a great deal of travelling to Salt Lake City to visit our son and his girlfriend. In following this pathway, I see that I could write about the national parks or the salt flats that we visit on our way to his apartment. They also have a gigantic copper mine that can be seen from space. The possibilities are endless, and thanks to this new way of viewing my travels, perhaps some new stories will be born. Thanks Christy! Happy travels to all potatoes.